The truth is, starting over ain't easy.
It's with a little bit of a broken heart that I write this post. I have decided to cancel my official marathon training program for this upcoming 2015 season. It brings up a whole slew of emotions just to even think that I will not be hosting a training program, and it's incredibly humbling. I have hosted at least 1 marathon training program every single year since 2003, training hundreds of runners for their first half or full marathon, or 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. marathons.
My marathon training journey began in 2002/2003 in Washington DC, and continued in DC through 2007, where I even used my runners as my research subjects for my graduate school research on running form and efficiency, using a technique called ChiRunning. I then moved out to Sacramento, CA where my marathon training program had to start fresh, growing steadily each year. But that wasn't the first or last time I had to start over. In 2011, I gave it all up to start fresh... again... in Columbus, MS, knowing I would only be there for a few years. I knew it would be a struggle to break into a foreign community, build trust, and gather runners. But after a couple years, that was no problem and we had a great group to train for our marathons and races in the South before the AF transferred us again.
This is the 4th time now, in a new place, where I have to start over. (cue the frustrations of being a military spouse). I know, based on past experience, that it does take a few years to really build up my training programs, as word of mouth gets out, and folks get the courage to try something they always dreamed about. With all of the mega-training-groups out there, with unlimited advertising funds, and a steady spot in their community, it's tough being the new mom-and-pop shop in town, out here on my own. Every three years or so, I am starting over as "the new trainer/coach" even though I've been doing this for 13 years.
So, as I mentioned before, I have decided to cancel my 2015 marathon training program. This is due to having only 2 committed runners sign up (and am super grateful for the two past Sacramento Live For It All ladies who wanted to train with me AGAIN!) It was super reassuring that folks were willing to drive 45 minutes to meet with me early on Saturday mornings in Winters, CA, for our long runs. They helped me to remember that not all is lost, and that it may just take some extra time to get the ball rolling... again. I can't expect to just pick up where I left off all the way across the country.
You all know that I don't do what I do for the money (though some day it will be nice to earn a full living doing what I do). I do it because I love it. While a 20 week training program takes an immense amount of time, effort, dedication, and willpower on my part, as well as the runners who are training, there is nothing that I enjoy more than seeing those who put in the effort for so long, crossing that finish line. It makes doing what I do the most worthwhile job in the world. And that is why I am broken hearted to cancel this year. I won't get to experience the feeling of seeing them cross that marathon finish line after 26.2 miles of hard work.
When you join a training group, one of the major benefits is that you have a "group" to train with. With just 3 of us, that wouldn't be fair. But, on a good note, this allows me to open up my schedule a bit more to offering other fitness activities like Saturday morning hikes, or bootcamps, unofficial training runs, 5k clinics, and more this year.
So, while my heart is a bit sad, frustrated, and even a little bit angry for the fact that I have to start over every couple of years, I do have faith that if I just continue teaching my 5 Weeks to 5k running clinics, continue teaching fitness classes, and hosting programs, that next marathon training season in 2016 will be a completely different story! I look forward to having a huge supportive group of runners helping each other find success again!
Here are a few photos from past Live For It All Marathon Training Programs
Abby Malmstrom M.S. is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, wellness coach, and "real food" nutritionist. Her life as an active duty military spouse takes her all over the world, allowing her to influence, teach, and connect with folks in communities she never even dreamed of reaching. Life's an adventure, so stay tuned for the ride! It's time to "Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well, Be Well."